Merced College Lady Devils - A History of Success

The Merced College women’s basketball team was established in 1992 under the leadership of California Community College hall of fame coach Don Reid. The Lady Blue Devils begin there first season as a member of the Camino Norte Conference but in 1995 the Lady Devils joined the Central Valley Conference. In 1997 Assistant Coach Allen Huddleston took over the reins as Don Reid had decided to retire.

Since joining the Central Valley Conference the Lady Devils have established them selves as one of the top Community Colleges in Central California compiling a record of 362-187 (.659). Since entering the CVC in 1995 the Lady Devils have won seven conference titles, nine conference MVP’s, and have had eleven Lady Devils selected to the All State Team.

Historical PhotoOur conference record since 1995 is 133-37 (.782) and we’ve won the conference title seven times in the last eleven years. From 2000-01 to 2002-03 the Lady Blue Devils won three conference championships in a row and had a combined record of 34-2 in conference play.. Also since 1992 we’ve had fifteen student athletes to receive full Division one scholarships and numerous others to go on to Division two and NAIA Colleges.

In 2002-03 season the lady Blue Devils finish the season 30-7 and the number three ranked team in Northern California. In 2005-06 the Lady Blue Devils finished the season 27-10 conference champions and ranked third in Northern California. They also participated in the California Community College State Elite Eight before losing to Orange Coast College.

The 2006-07 season saw the lady Blue Devils finish with a 16-15 record and third in the Central Valley Conference barely missing the State Regional Playoffs.  In 2007-08 the Lady Blue Devils again rose towards the top of the CVC finishing in second place and having an overall record of 21-13.  The Devils returned to the State Regional Playoffs only to lose to eventual final four San Joaquin Delta College.  They repeated their second place finish a year later only to again lose in the State Regional Playoffs to Sierra College.

There were also freshmen that gave performances that would leave fans cheering and looking forward to the 2007-08 season with anticipation. Guard Ashley Willison lead the team with 46 three-pointers, and made 81% of her free throws. Guard Rachel Martinez hit on 50% of her three-pointers and 73% of her free throws. Guards Jhinnae Clark and Lakeya Sears both had lots of playing time and were starters throughout the season. So one can see the overall record and the fact the Lady Blue Devils did not make the playoffs, or you can see they finished second in the conference, beat Modesto JC twice, Fresno City College once, and saw some very good performances by the team and individual players.

The 2008-09 edition of the "Lady Blue Devils" will be continuing its climb back to the top of the Central Valley Conference. The Lady Devils finished the 2007-08 season in second place with an 8-2 conference record and 21-13 overall record. They also made a return trip to the State Regional Tournament though losing in the first game. With history on their side, this year’s edition will be looking to rise to the top like seven other teams have done since the 1995-96 season.

Gone but not forgotten from last year’s team are 1st Team All-CVC selection Fantasia Newsome and 2nd Team All-CVC selections and guards Lakeya Sears, Rachel Martinez, and Jhinnae Clark. Also not playing this year and redshirting is F Kenyatta Harper who was 1st Team All-CVC, and a three-time All-Tourney selection. She finished the season leading in scoring with 13 points a game and rebounds with 11 per game. Though the Lady Devils have lost these players Coach Allen Huddleston seems confident with those returning and those new freshmen coming in.

The 2008-09 season started out fast for the Lady Blue Devils. The team finished fourth in their own tournament, then won the Shasta Tourney, won the consolation championship in the Irvine Tourney, and finished third in the very tough Delta Tourney. The Lady Blue Devils came up short in conference play with a second place finish to nemisis Fresno City College, and made the Northern California Regional Playoffs losing to Sierra College. The Lady Devils were lead by All-Conference selections Tiara Dunson, Tineka Spencer, and Keyona McKibbens. Dunson lead the team in rebounding (6.5 per game), and was second in scoring with a 9.7 points per game average. Tineka lead the team in scoring with 9.8 points per game, and blocked shots with a 1.0 per game average, and was second in rebounding with a 6.2 rebounds per game average. Keyona lead the team in assists with a 2.2 per game average, and 28 three-pointers. Also contributing heavily were 2nd Team All-Conference selections Tanisha White, and Alyssa Wright. Both White and McKibbens were All-Tournament selections at Shasta with White being named the MVP.

The 2009-2010 season was one of few ups, and many downs. The Lady Blue Devils finished with their worst record in conference and overall play leaving Coach Huddleston with only three wins away from reaching the 300 win plateau. While there were the lows in the season, the Lady Devils did win the Hartnell tourmanet and Linda Murray (who returns in 2010-11) was named Tourney MVP along with All-Tournament selection Porsha Grayson (also returning in 2010-11).

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